Algeria Deports German CEO Nikolai Beckers for Sacking 900 Workers

Algeria yesterday issued an order to deport the country head of the Qatari telecommunications company Ooredoo, Nikolai Beckers, for “sacking 900 Algerian workers” within seven months as a CEO.

Nikolai Beckers, in August 2019, was appointed the CEO of the Algerian arm of Ooredoo, an international telecommunications company headquartered in Doha, Qatar.

Nikolai Beckers was reported to have held senior management positions at several multinational organisations in Europe and Asia, including Deutsche Telekom and T-Online France, with more than 20 years of experience in the communications and information technology sector. He holds a degree in business administration from the University of Köln, Germany.

Nikolai Beckers, CEO of Bakcell interviewed at Total Telecom Congress 2018

However, a decorated CV and a prolific career couldn’t stop the Algerian government from taking action.

Between the time of Nikolai Beckers’ appointment and February 2020, when the fracas matured, he was alleged to have fired 900 Algerians from the company.

According to An-Nahar reports, the Algerian President Abdelmajid Taboun  ordered the “immediate expulsion and deportation of the general manager of Ooredoo.” The newspaper added Nikolai Beckers was firing workers at a time when the company “was not suffering any financial problems and was making profits.”

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According to Statista, the unemployment rate in the North African country is 12.35 percent as of 2019. Compared to Egypt’s 11.29 percent and Morocco’s 9.03 percent, one would understand that Algeria is one of the hardest places to land a job in the North African region.

While no follow-up has sufficed about Nikolai Beckers since the deportation, it is important to recall that the story is not a first of its kind.

In February 2019, the CEO of South African multinational telecommunications company MTN in Uganda, Wim Vanhelleput, was also deported.

The Belgian was the fourth company executive to be deported from the East African country in a little stretch of a month. Though clear reasons were not stated, it was believed that these executives engaged in dealings that threatened Uganda’s national security.


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